I will bet real money that no one will submit his or her tear gas experience from the army! Every recruit has one, just part of training. One day, with no warning at all, you are marched to a one-story building somewhere on your Basic Training base. You have your gas mask with you, but, then, you usually do, as part of the gear you are being taught to wear. You are given a very brief introduction to the training. You are sent inside this building, lined up around the walls, and told to put on your gas mask. Oh Yes! I almost forgot! “Your gas mask is one of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment you will ever have in the army!”
A sergeant starts a tear gas grenade spewing smoke in the enclosed, ever-shrinking space. The mask seems to work just fine, except for the distinct smell of the tear gas seeping in from the edges of the highly-advanced piece of army equipment you are being trained to use. Then, you are ordered to remove your gas mask – and that is where it becomes truly interesting. Of course you are overwhelmed by the smoke, the choking tear gas. You have to stand there, or fall down there, or go into a panic right there. Eventually, they let you out of the building, and you cough and choke and sometimes vomit – all from the effects of the tear gas. The effects of the tear gas take a long time to go away. The memory remains forever.
Like the night I had radio watch in our Company Headquarters about two weeks after the beginning of the Tet Offensive in early 1968. “Report of a gas attack. Notify all personnel” (or something like that). Instantly, I remembered how the tear gas could be detected from inside the wonderful gas mask – and where was mine anyway? Or anyone else’s, for that matter. That was a truly frightening moment, what with the First Sergeant being drunk as usual and no one competent in charge. Fortunately, it turned out to be only a tear gas grenade falling off the back of one of our own trucks.
Tear gas is really nasty, but I can tell you from personal experience that it can’t be worse than a lethal chemical weapon loosed by stealth against you. - Thomas